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Hollins: C’s still ‘one of top 3 in East’ 03.11.10 at 1:16 am ET
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Coming into Wednesday’s game, Memphis coach Lionel Hollins wasn’t about to let his suffer the same fate as the Washington Wizards on Sunday night.

After his team blew a 13-point lead in the final six minutes, only to lose to Boston, 86-83, Wizards coach Flip Saunders said his team relieved itself collectively down its leg.

Hollins knew with his young, energetic team well rested in Boston while the Celtics were battling Milwaukee half a continent away 24 hours earlier, his team would have a decided advantage and likely jump out to a quick, big lead.

Hollins was prophetic. The Grizzlies raced out to a 27-12 lead after one and 55-33 at halftime.

And when the Celtics rallied to get within 12 in the third quarter he reminded his team what was at stake during a succession of timeouts.

‘€œI was telling them to keep being aggressive,” Hollins said. “I watched the Washington Wizards come in here the other noght and literally beat the Celtics up for three and half quarters and then quit playing and the Celtics came back and won the game.

“I told them whatever happens, whatever run, we’€™ll call timeout and try to stem the run but when we go back out there we’€™re gonna be aggressive. We kept throwing the ball up the court and attacking the. We had two or three quick 1-2 passes then a layup after they scored which kind of took the start to them and also took the crowd out of the game.’€

While a respectable 34-31, the Grizzlies are still on the outside looking in, trying to catch Portland for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference.

“It’€™s a big win, and we’€™re happy with the win, but we know we caught the Celtics on a down night,” Hollins said. “They played back to back, had to travel home, had a tough game [Tuesday] night in Milwaukee. They’€™re still, in my mind, one of the top three teams in the East and they’€™re going to show that as they go forward into the playoffs. But we’€™re just happy to get a win and we’€™re excited to have 34 wins and be three games over .500.

‘€œWe talked about making some noise, we beat a lot of good teams during the course of this season and this the first big road win though against one of the top teams in the league and we caught a break so that helped us but we’€™ll take it. That’€™s the way the NBA is and that just takes us further and closer to our goal.’€

Read More: Celtics, Grizzlies, Lionel Hollins, NBA
Refs Coming Back? 10.21.09 at 10:11 am ET
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Several reports Tuesday indicated that the league and the referee’s union are closing in on a labor agreement that would return the regular refs to work and prevent the so so-called “replacement refs” (read: scabs) from working regular season games.

People are of two minds on this one. The casual NBA fan will shrug his or her shoulders and wonder why anyone would care about the refs since they’re all horrible anyway. The hardcore NBA fan, on the other hand, is smiling a little bit today because the thought of a 60-foul, 3+ hour game is no good for anyone.

Throughout the preseason it became rather obvious that the replacements weren’t up the speed of the NBA game, which led to a number of ticky tack calls after the original foul. Despite a directive from the league to not talk about the refs, complaints had begun to surface.

Charlotte coach Larry Brown was fined $60,000, while Memphis coach Lionel Hollins was fined $25K for saying the refs favored Magic center Dwight Howard. Not surprisingly, Magic coach Stan Van Gundy didn’t like the insinuation. Plus he had already been docked $35,000 for criticizing the refs in a separate incident. (Perhaps Hollins didn’t get the memo that the Magic don’t get any respect from the media, the league or the zebras).

The final straw may have been an exhibition game between the Knicks and Maccabi Tel Aviv, in which Maccabi coach Pini Gershon was ejected and refused to leave the court for an extended time. According to a report by Yahoo’s Adrian Wojnarowski, Maccabi had paid $500,000 to play the game and was using the money from the game to benefit an Israeli orphanage.

International incidents aside, the return of the regular refs in time for the start of the regular season is good news for the league, the players and believe it or not, the fans as well.

Read More: Larry Briown, Lionel Hollins, refs, Stan Van Gundy
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